I am restoring an Amberola 30. The original finish on the oak case is in rough shape. I would like to refresh/restore the finish. Does anyone have any details about the finish?
This image is from the internet. I will be building a new cabinet like this to display the player and store the cylinders.Whatever the finish applied/restored on the player will be matched on the cabinet. I will try to match them (color, finish and age). I don't really want them to look brand new.
Assuming the veneer on the case is still intact, your first step (after removing all the hardware) is to clean the finish thoroughly with NON-PUMICE Gojo or Goop, and the finest grade of steel wool (or its plastic equivalent). Go VERY carefully over the decal. Depending on how dirty the finish is, you may need to repeat this.
Once the cabinet is cleaned, look it over carefully. Is the finish heavily alligatored? Are there spots where the finish is thin or missing? If not, you can polish the case with paste wax, or something like Howard's Feed-n-Wax™.
If the finish really needs more work, you can try re-amalgamating it with alcohol. Some would use a brush, which works on some flat surfaces: but for more control, I would use a soft, lint-free cloth, wetted with alcohol, and lubricated with a drop or two of lemon oil. Rub the surfaces carefully in ovals or figure-eights, never letting the cloth stop while it's touching the wood.
If there is too much finish missing to re-amalgamate, you can try a modified French polish technique, using the means above, but replacing the alcohol with thinned shellac. Have patience, and eventually the finish will come back to its original luster.
Thanks BillS for the reply. I am familiar with the techniques that you described and will begin the process today. The veneer is in good shape. The finish is very dirty. I will see how the GOOP works and then evaluate the need for further finish work. THe key word in you response was "shellac".
Tomorrow I will believe to begin making sawdust fabricating the cabinet.